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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Fish & Wildlife > Wildlife Resources > Nuisance Wildlife > General Prevention Information General Prevention Information

Preventing problems with nuisance wildlife

  1. Remove food sources. Pick up leftover dog and cat food at night and keep bird feeders out of their reach (or bring them in at night). Don’t let spilled food accumulate on the ground.
  2. Prevent access to chimneys with a commercial cap made of sheet metal and heavy screen over the top of the chimney. Repair soffits to prevent access to attics and install strong, metal vent covers. Keep dampers closed when not in use, but consult a knowledgeable source to prevent a fire hazard.
  3. Prune tree limbs away from the roof (10 feet away is best) or install a 3-foot wide band of sheet metal (6 feet above the ground), around the trunks of trees which overhang  your house. This will reduce access to your roof by raccoons and squirrels.
  4. Garbage cans should be made of heavy metal and have lockable or tight-fitting lids to prevent access; otherwise, keep them indoors as much as possible.
  5. Install metal skirting (i.e. strong hardware cloth) around the bottom of a deck to prevent a wild animal from making a den underneath.
  6. Provide shelter structures for fish in ornamental ponds and water gardens; cover the pond during the night with metal screening.
  7. Cover window wells with grates, bubbles or hardware cloth.
  8. Seal up holes around and under home foundations to help keep out mice, rats, insects and snakes. You can bury ¼ inch mesh hardware cloth 1-2 feet deep in places where animals might gain access to your crawl space through digging.
  9. Fence gardens and cover fruit trees and berry bushes with netting, or use an approved non-toxic repellent spray.
  10. Repair broken, weak, or rotted areas on the roof, soffit, and fascia of your house.
  11. Mark large windows with strips of white tape or raptor (hawk) silhouettes to avert birds from flying into the window.